Welcome to the Images Through The Door Blog. I started this blog with the thoughts of sharing some thoughts and musings, as well as information and data on upcoming shows, or tips about photography and where I have been lately. I welcome your comments and thoughts. Happy reading!
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My husband and I recently took a short vacation together - it was much needed for him as he has been working hard and not getting a lot of down time. I was looking forward to having some time with him and exploring a new area and seeing new sights. Yes, I did take my camera equipment - the image above was taken during the trip - but to be honest, photography was not my goal for this trip, special time with my husband was.
When I am out shooting professionally, my mindset is "focused" differently then when I am being a traveler, or spending time with family and friends. When I am shooting, I am working on a task, on finding the right elements or light or subject, and that takes up my thought process fully. I must be fully present in that moment in order to "see" what I want to capture.
When I have special time with others, especially those I love and cherish, I must be just as completely present with them to live those miracle moments together. Like my photographer self, I only get one chance to catch those extraordinary times, and when the moments are gone, they're gone and cannot be reclaimed. Life and photography share that so well!
Our lives and our time with those we love is not infinite. Every moment is special and should be revered and remembered. We should truly live as if today were our last day on earth; noticing each little thing, opening our hearts and our eyes to the beauty we have around us, giving our compassion and our love openly, cherishing and honoring those we love and each moment we have together.
Our trip was wonderful and we made some great new memories together during it. Yes, I did take a few pics, yet what I remember more was the time spent together. Those moments are in my heart, and are more important than any photograph I might have taken. I am warmed by the remembrance, and the love. These are everyday miracles - and they are worth more than anything. These moments are treasures - hold them and cherish them, and remember to notice these moments - they happen every day! Be present - live fully - embrace your life! Let those special times in life take your breath away and you will be fully alive and filled with joy. The moments are truly everywhere if we simply open our eyes to see.
I recently heard a story about a principal of a troubled school on the East Coast who took the position in order to change the downward direction of the school. He made some sweeping changes, including changing the makeup of the school personnel, and hours for classes. He removed security guards and used the funds to hire art teachers. Given the troubled history of the school, this was a bold move, yet the principal remained committed to the need for art and art teachers.
The school has now become a successful model for others, and a standard bearer for the importance of inclusion of arts programs in curriculum. I felt this was a great lesson to show why art is important as a springboard for learning and creativity development, and this principal was willing to take a huge leap of faith and commitment in order to turn his school around dramatically. His reward was seeing students who were learning more, succeeding more, and believing in themselves and their abilities. Art played a major role in this rebirth.
Art is one of the first things most children learn in life - they draw or color, make paper figures or cutouts, sing and dance to their own tunes. This is how personal expression comes into play, and we need to foster and encourage this throughout the education process through life, and in ourselves as well.
I was never any good at painting or sketching, but I did it as a child, and even later on (can you say "Paint by Numbers"?) I was happy doing creative things. My attempts were crude and basic, but the spark was there. It was not until I picked up a camera that I felt I had found my artistic voice.
Many people and many famous artists have similar stories about their humble art beginnings. The thread that remains is the positive encouragement given them to work and learn and grow. No matter if the medium is painting, writing, dance, music, photography, sculpture, or any other art form, encouragement to find your own voice is so important, as children and adults! Call yourself an artist proudly, and surround yourself with others who share that passion and love - watch how they work and learn. Even if you only do art for yourself, be proud of it and that you are finding your expression of life.
I have a great many people in my life who have encouraged and supported my work, and I would not be the person I am today without them. My Mother and my wonderful husband top that list. Mom, at the end of her life told me that there is no perfect time to wait for, and to go for it now. My husband, Rich, each and every day shows me more love and positivity that I ever thought possible. I thank them every day for their love.
I am also lucky to have many friends with whom I share love for photography and nature - they are each and every one special and unique in their vision and work and personality. They inspire me and I am proud to be their friend. Their voice is in their work, and their art is incredible. They open their hearts and art flows from it beautifully and soulfully.
The moral to this story? Art is important and vital for us as humans. It challenges us, it enriches us, it makes us think. When a person engages in artwork, it connects into a part of our brains that fuels creative thinking and problem solving. It makes us better at seeing and visualization and abstraction. And, for many of us, it gives us a chance to go out and meet and work with like minded individuals who will amaze us through their own art. Art opens us to greater vision and growth that can continue for years and years.
So pick up a pen or brush or camera. Stop saying I can't! Look for what moves you and then start there. Let go - feel free - laugh - create - see - express, and repeat! It's your vision and your expression - and that is something no one can have but you! Celebrate that! You are unique!
We have once again been exposed to parts of the world that are indeed confused and mortal, causing suffering, pain and death. It seems unthinkable that young men living in the US would come to this end, and we may find ourselves questioning and looking for reason. We likely will find little that will give us answers or solace, and feel troubled and confused by these events.
It is especially at these times we should turn our gaze to those things that nurture our spirits, that lift us and those who are affected by tragedy to a more courageous and beautiful place. Our spirits must flow to a loving and positive space, and show the way for others.
We may become cynical and suspicious when bad events occur, yet if we widen our gaze and our viewpoint, we will always find the good - the good people, the courageous, the giving, the strong and incredible ones. There were many of these in Boston - doctors and nurses who worked after running the marathon to tend the injured, bystanders who became rescuers and givers of solace and strength, responders who put aside fear and placed themselves in danger to help those who had fallen. These are the stories worth telling and hearing; these are the spirits who soar and rise above the fray. They are our lights in the darkness.
There will be many times in life where we are faced with adversity, challenge, fear and confusion. How do we respond to these? At these times I find the quotes of a great and wonderful man - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, - relevant and powerful reminders of how to live. He once said the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. His philosophy was that we must not let the darkness of hate blind us but rather bring forward the light of love to drive out the hate.
Our spirits cannot soar and rise if hate contaminates our minds. We must continually and repeatedly find and renew our courage and capacity to forgive. We must look for the good in every moment, the flower amidst the thorns. The world can heal only through love, forgiveness, compassion, and hope. Hold these in your heart - show them to your fellow beings, and be a shining spirit for good.
When I started to ponder about the blog for this week, I found this quote online, and felt this was a good starting point. How do you follow your bliss? Do you find it in your life daily? What gives you joy - and do you celebrate that daily?
I believe that everyone can find bliss in their daily life no matter if they are working in their most ideal job in the world, or one that you must do to pay the bills. There is no magic formula other than looking for joy in everyday things, and everyday moments. It can be by going out in nature and witnessing its beauty or having a hobby that takes you into those happy times and gives you pleasure and fulfillment. You can even find it while you are doing your everyday job! The secret is to seek joy and find bliss first within yourself.
My good friend Sally who is a superb photographer, is a great example of this. Even when she is knee deep in the backbreaking drudgery of yard work, she finds time to get her camera and photograph the beautiful and interesting plants and flowers - even the weeds she has to mow! She takes time to notice and really SEE these things rather than just looking past them and lamenting about how much work she has to do to tend her garden. This is the true definition of finding bliss! And because she follows this, she takes the most amazing photographs! And her garden is beautiful because she has done the hard work, even though there might have been many other things she would have preferred to do! Double joy!
It's really a state of mind, to be honest. You can be doing your chores and be miserable, or you can find something that helps you realize the chore completed will give you something good. It's rather like cleaning out a closet - you don't really want to do it, but then you find it becomes freeing to get rid of those things that have been cluttering up your space for so long. And if you donate your things, you pay the joy forward to someone else.
Bliss can be found in so many things. I spent part of a day hanging my photographs for a showing in a local healthcare facility that utilizes their public spaces as galleries for local artists. They have transformed their environment from one that can be stressful and unhappy to one that highlights artwork to express peacefulness, harmony and expression. They have done this through unwavering and continuing support of local art and artists, and encouraging those dealing with difficult health situations to express themselves through art, even if they have never done art before. It is a tremendously healing environment where they have found a way to incorporate health and heart. It's a wonderful and uplifting combination, and it benefits everyone who comes through their doors.
Search for bliss within yourself and no matter where you are. It's there - even though at times it may seem hard to find, if you look long enough, you will find it. Follow it, and watch the universe unfold to you in so many beautiful ways. It's a treasure waiting for us to find it, if only we open our hearts.